I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not My Home.

As my family eyes a potential move to a faraway place, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I’ve never been out of the southwest, barring one trip to Ohio years ago. I’ve been thinking about that word, “home”. What does it mean? The past three and a half years have redefined home for me. I can’t drive down 15th street in Frederick, Oklahoma, and go visit my Momma and Daddy at “home”. I won’t find them there. Momma is not in a place where I can see her anymore. Daddy is at home with Nonna, in Texas. And my heart rejoices in that for him. We’ve been praying for peace and healing for him for so long, and we are thankful for this new phase in his life, and thankful for Nonna, who’s been a huge blessing to our family in more ways than she knows. That’s another story, for another time.


As many people know, “The Wizard of Oz” is my all-time favorite movie. I have a pretty good collection of memorabilia from that movie, and the books. It’s sort of poetic, how much I love that movie, and how I identify with Dorothy.

I’ve written about my story, probably so much that people don’t care to hear, but I can’t apologize for that. (I believe with my whole heart that sharing our stories with one another provides comfort, healing, and is another way to spread the Good News….after all, isn’t the whole Bible a collection of stories?) And for all the sadness, tears, grief, sorrow, hopelessness….many times that is all I’ve had to offer. And if I’ve learned ANYTHING over the past few years, it is that that is okay. It is actually a VERY good thing. In fact, if I were to withhold what God is putting me through….it would not be fair to me, or you. As hard as the truth is sometimes, it’s just that, the truth. My husband mentioned recently how he was oddly comforted by the words of Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”…..that hits home for me as well. Sometimes I need to know that someone else is hurting and crying out for comfort…..sometimes knowing I wasn’t alone was the ONLY thing that kept me going through the very long days and nights that drew out the latter days of my twenties. It’s comforting to know that I’m “safe” to hurt, mourn, cry, have sorrow, “feel”….because He allows that……we are safe in our sorrow with Him. In fact, shouldn’t I offer my whole self to Him, rather than withhold those most honest parts, such as grief and sorrow?? That is why I share these hard things….because I know there are others hurting silently…..you are not alone.

There are days when it seems as though the past few years have aged me a good fifty years. There are days when it’s still hard to wake up, because the first things I remember are the tragedies that have happened to my family. There are days when all I can do is drink coffee, and make it through what seems like endless hours of despair. Nights when tears just flow as I lay next to my husband. Tears of grief, anger, despair, worry, doubt. Days when I fear what may happen to our family, not out of some neurotic mindset, but because of what already HAS happened. Yet, there are good days. There are days when I can just sort of “feel” (for lack of a better word) that my Momma is here alongside me, missing us just as we’re missing her. Days when I feel hopeful, as small as that hope may be, that something good is coming our way. Days when I look at my son, and I’m so proud of his accomplishments at only 6 years old. Days when I cry tears of joy for the sweet moments God’s given me amidst the sorrow. Days when I want to “sing of His mercy that leads me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy….”.

What has life reminded me lately? Home isn’t a place I can see, it isn’t the town I grew up in. It’s not the town my husband and I started our lives together. It isn’t the house I grew up in, that I still picture my Momma living in on many days. It isn’t where we may move to in a few weeks.

There is a beautiful picture I have hanging in our home that reads, “HOME IS WHERE THEY LOVE YOU”.

That’s just it. Right there. Those simple words. But who are “they”? They are my family, my close friends. Home is my Momma. Home is who my Momma is now with. Home is East Texas, near a beautiful lake, where my Daddy and Nonna live. Home is where my sister resides, in a suburb of Kansas City. Home is in my best friend’s homes. Home is Kansas where my in-laws live. Home is where My Love, our offspring, and myself reside…..whether that’s a one bedroom apartment given to us from friends to shelter us from life, a beautiful home rented to us from other selfless friends, or a small apartment in Pasadena, California. Home is, indeed where they love me. I can only hope that no matter where life takes us, I will lavishly give that love back that’s been given to me. God’s been showing me how to redefine home. Home is more than a house, more than a town, more than a country. Home is with my husband, who has always been loving, inspiring, loyal, encouraging, comforting, and often put up with more than he deserves. Home is in my sweet little baby boy’s eyes, as he continues to grow everyday.

I identify so much with that little girl who is longing for a place to call home, a place to belong, to fit in…a place where she is loved. In the end, she ultimately finds she’s been there all along…that home is where they love her the most….

And I can assure you, there’s no place like home.

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